Weekly Reader in preschool

For as far back as I can remember, we have been subscribing to the Weekly Reader. This is a simple four page newspaper for kids that focuses on specific topics in each issue. In this pre-k classroom the Weekly Reader topic for the day is on Fall Fruit.  I want to share with you the method we tend to use when introducing Weekly Readers to our students but this is not to say it is a have-to method, it is just the preferred method that I have used over the years.

We use the Weekly Readers as part of a large group pre-reading experience. To begin, each child is given their Weekly Reader and they are taught to place it on the floor in front of them so they can turn the pages together and read along together.

It is important for the teacher to review the Weekly Reader ahead of time so she will be prepared to review the ideas on each page and be prepared to ask open ended questions that promote conversation and discussion. The teacher will ask the children to look at the picture and then tell her what they think the topic is going to be about. “What does the picture tell us?” Then the teacher will invite the children to point to the title as she reads the title aloud.

The teacher has a big book version of the Weekly Reader she can use to help her point to the words and reinforce concepts along the way. Essentially, the role of the teacher is to model the reading experience. Once the teacher has introduced the title page, the the children all turn their page and open up to the center page. There are four pages total in each Weekly Reader.

The teacher will ask the children to point to each square on the page and then invite them to tell her what they think is happening in that square. The children will use their fingers to point to the words under each section of the page as the teacher reads the words aloud. Ultimately, we are promoting the idea of reading from left to right, exploring the photos, predicting the message of each section, following a sequence of page numbers, following a sequence of events, reading aloud together, and working in cooperation as a large group.

In addition to promoting basic pre-reading skills, we are also learning about the content the Weekly Reader provides. Today, we are discovering the growth stages of a pumpkin. Together, we can follow each stage of growth by identifying the stages in both numerical order and by looking at the pictures. We are going to read the words under each picture aloud together then answer the open ended questions the teacher has prepared.

After reading each section of the center page together, we will close the page and look at the back page. For some really strange reason I didn’t take a picture of the last page. But I can tell you that the last page is generally a page of simple activities the children can do to reinforce the message in the newspaper. Most of the time, we do this part together with our fingers first then go to the table and do it with a crayon on our own.

The teacher’s guide that comes with the Weekly Reader subscription provides additional ideas for extending the reading experience into art, math, and other content areas. Just to give you a rough guide for how long this process is – I would say that we spend about 15 minutes or less. It just depends on the kinds of questions that are being asked and how engaged the children are in the large group prereading process.

By |2010-11-08T06:00:56+00:00November 8th, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Ayn Colsh November 8, 2010 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    I love Weekly Reader–and the Scholastic version with Clifford is pretty good, too! I wish we had the funding for them, but with all the budget cuts, there’s just not enough $$. I have saved many of my large editions and extras from years past and still use them in large group, but you are so right–an individual copy for each student to promote prereading is a great activity!

    • Deborah J. Stewart November 8, 2010 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      I haven’t tried the Scholastic version yet but I would love to try it out sometime soon. I do have samples I have received in the mail and they look wonderful!

  2. Joy April 25, 2017 at 11:36 am - Reply

    When I got mine we had to pay .25 c. in 1954. Man was that a lot of money when we had to use that for food. But I loved the Weekly Reader. Hated the test on the back page lol.I’m 73 now. Memories.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 27, 2017 at 12:13 am - Reply

      I love reading your memories! I remember using them back when I was first teaching 20 years ago. I absolutely loved them!

  3. Philip Scaggs September 14, 2018 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    Looking for weekly reader for 4 year old that will be home schooled.

    • Deborah Stewart September 19, 2018 at 11:25 am - Reply

      Go to scholastics website!

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